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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 24 December

by afew Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 04:00:54 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe and Africa on this date in history:

1871 - Aida opens in Cairo

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!


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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:35:55 PM EST
German politicians allege post-election plan to cut budget | Reuters

(Reuters) - The junior political partners of German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Sunday against any attempt to raise taxes after next year's election as Europe's champion of budget discipline struggles to balance its books.

The Finance Ministry has denied a Der Spiegel news magazine report that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble wants to raise value-added tax to a uniform 19 percent, eliminating a discounted 7 percent rate on many items to bring in an extra 23 billion euros ($30 billion) each year.

It also denied on Friday that Schaeuble planned to cut social spending, to help bring German debt back within the limit that Berlin insisted on setting as a condition for countries to gain admission to the currency union.

Germany has been pushing for budget austerity in other euro zone countries. Until now, Germans have been largely spared such measures but while Germany's debt is falling relative to gross domestic product, it is still at 81.5 percent, well above the 60 percent euro zone ceiling.

Volker Wissing, parliamentary floor leader of Germany's Free Democrats (FDP), told Welt am Sonntag newspaper his party would not support any measures that raise burdens on taxpayers. "If he (Schaeuble) wants to raise revenues (with a VAT increase), then he'll have to give taxpayers something back somewhere else," Wissing said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:57:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel ally Schavan rejects plagiarism charges | Reuters

(Reuters) - A close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday rejected allegations of plagiarism in her 1980 doctoral thesis and said she wanted to stay in the cabinet beyond September's election.

The accusations are similar to those that last year brought down Merkel's defence minister and heir-apparent, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, but could prove more damaging for the government only nine months before an election.

A University of Duesseldorf faculty board voted unanimously last week for a full inquiry into Education Minister Annette Schavan after a smaller panel recommended taking away her PhD in education because it said parts of the thesis had been copied. A university-level panel will decide on the request on January 22.

Schavan, 57, told the newspaper Die Welt she had written her thesis with a clear conscience in 1980. "That's why I strongly reject these accusations," she added. "I want to stay on as a minister beyond next year's election."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:12:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France checks ministers' taxes after Swiss bank report | Reuters

(Reuters) - French tax authorities said they were carrying out a "routine" examination of government members' personal finances and denied a report that Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac was being singled out for a specific probe.

The statement was issued through Cahuzac's ministry amid weekend media reports that President Francois Hollande could be considering a government reshuffle, seven months after his May election victory against Nicolas Sarkozy.

Cahuzac, who is leading an official crackdown on tax evasion, has vigorously denied reports by Mediapart that he held a Swiss bank account with UBS until 2010 and is suing the investigative news website for libel.

Such allegations are particularly sensitive at a time when the government has sharply increased income tax for the highest earners and heaped criticism on wealthy individuals who have sought to shift their tax base abroad.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:11:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IMF Urges France to Boost Competitiveness - Bloomberg

The International Monetary Fund called for wage moderation in France, an overhaul of the country's labor market and more competition in its services sector as Europe's second-largest economy loses export market share and faces a "fragile" growth outlook.

"Economic growth remains sluggish and the near-term outlook is subject to downside risks," IMF executive directors said in a statement released yesterday, a day after meeting to discuss France's economy. "The main challenge going forward would be to further strengthen the recovery, while addressing the competitiveness gap vis-à-vis trading partners and safeguarding financial stability."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:20:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
because nothing boosts competitiveness like a race to the bottom.

who is supposed to be buying all this cheap stuff if nobody gets paid enough to afford it ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 06:54:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MEPs welcome new EU-wide rules on public procurement: theparliament.com
New laws adopted by parliament mean member states will in future have to ensure the respect of social and environmental criteria in contracts when procuring goods and services.

Contracting authorities will also be able to award procurement on the basis of the 'most economically advantageous tender' and no longer on the lowest price offer.

These are part of new rules on public procurement negotiated by S&D deputy Marc Tarabella and approved on Tuesday by parliament's internal market committee.

S&D spokeswoman for the internal market Evelyne Gebhardt, welcomed the outcome of the vote, saying, "Public procurement can be used as a powerful tool for achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This compromise is very ambitious, aiming at introducing more transparency, efficiency and legal certainty into the internal market.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:22:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hungary bans foreign farmland ownership

Hungary this week moved to ban foreign ownership of agricultural land under its new constitution amid fears over the future of family farming in the country.

The Hungarian Parliament passed a government proposal Monday to amend its 2011 Constitution, or Fundamental Law, to assure that in the future, only Hungarian farmers can purchase Hungarian farmland.

The law set Hungary on a collision course with the European Union, which had given Hungary until 2014 to phase out similar restrictions under previous laws as a condition of continued financial and development aid.

The government of conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban hailed Monday's 263-87 vote as providing "stability, predictability and the opportunity for secure planning for those who live off agriculture."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:37:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Monti's not running for election, he's doing a crap job of it: Cambiare l'Italia, riformare l'Europa
Un'agenda per un impegno comune
(agenda-monti.it)

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 02:55:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:36:27 PM EST
Is Japan set to lead after 20 years of torpor? | Anatole Kaletsky

As 2012 draws to a conclusion, it's likely that the fiscal cliff will be averted, U.S. politics and monetary policy are irrevocably set, European politics are suspended until September's German election and the Chinese leadership transition is over. In short, the political and monetary uncertainties that have obsessed financial markets and paralyzed business have all been dispelled. As a result, 2013 promises to be a year for businesses and investors to focus again on economic fundamentals and corporate performance instead of delaying decisions while they waited with bated breath for the next euro summit, or election, or meeting of the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank. In one part of the world, however, events are moving the other way.

In Japan, economic and business conditions remain as dull as ever, but politics and monetary policy are suddenly exciting. And while the world has largely lost interest in Japan, the gestalt shift  in the world's third-largest economy could have big implications for global business and for the way voters think about governments and central banks.

Last weekend's landslide election of Shinzo Abe, a potentially powerful prime minister, was largely a result of his promise of a revolution in monetary policy designed to jolt the Japanese economy out of its 20-year stupor. If Abe delivers on his election rhetoric - still a big "if", especially in a country where power is wielded mainly by bureaucrats rather than elected politicians - the global impact could be huge.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:02:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Japan set to lead after 20 years of torpor? | Anatole Kaletsky
The era when monetary policy was simply about controlling inflation is over. The consensus on macroeconomics created by the Reagan-Thatcher political revolution and the near-simultaneous monetarist revolution in economic thinking has broken down.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:04:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Banking industry's year of shame ends in a blizzard of Libor revelations | Business | The Observer

Last week saw another blizzard of revelations in the Libor scandal, as the Swiss bank was slapped with hefty fines for repeatedly trying to fiddle the key interest rate.

"I will fucking do one humongous deal with you ... Like a 50,000-buck deal, whatever ... I need you to keep it as low as possible ... If you do that ... I'll pay you, you know, $50,000, $100,000 ... whatever you want."

The revelations contained in the documents published alongside last week's settlement with regulators in the UK, US and Switzerland, as they fined UBS £940m, came at the end of a year of shame for banking.

Andrew Simms of thinktank the New Economics Foundation now says that, far from the banking crisis being caused by a few bad apples, "the level of mould inside the barrel is thick and healthy and covering every part of it".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:47:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the very barrel itself is rotten

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 06:56:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Most Important Chart Of The Year: The Italian 10-Year - Business Insider

As 2012 draws to a close, this is really the story of the year, and it really hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. Only the Business Insider and FT correctly recognized that Mario Draghi was the Person Of The Year, not only because ameliorated the acute Eurozone crisis, but also because he kept a multi-decade project (the Eurozone) on track, an accomplishment that gives his actions major historical significance.

As the year draws to a close, optimism that Europe has turned a corner has grown to the point that even Greek borrowing costs are plummeting.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:52:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:36:43 PM EST
BBC News - Syria unrest: Air strike on bakery 'kills dozens'

Dozens of people have been killed in a government air strike on a bakery in the central Syrian province of Hama, opposition activists say.

The incident took place in Halfaya, a town recently captured by rebels.

If activists' reports of 90 deaths are confirmed, this would be one of the deadliest air strikes of the civil war.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dozens killed in air strike on Syrian bakery - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

At least 90 people were killed and scores of others injured in an air strike on a bakery in Syria's central Hama province, activists said.

Activists on Sunday told Al Jazeera that the death toll was likely to rise in the town of Halfaya, where the strike hit.

"There is no way to really know yet how many people were killed. When I got there, I could see piles of bodies all over the ground. There were women and children," said Samer al-Hamawi, an activist in the town.

Halfaya was seized by rebels few days ago as part of a campaign to push into new territories in the 21-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:43:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Egypt opposition alleges referendum 'fraud'

Egypt's main opposition has demanded an inquiry into the referendum on the draft constitution, citing fraud.

The National Salvation Front urged the election commission to investigate the "irregularities".

Initial unofficial results indicate a "Yes" vote for a document which President Mohammed Morsi says will safeguard democracy.

The opposition says the constitution favours Islamists, and the referendum has highlighted bitter divisions.

The result is expected to be officially announced on Monday.

If the constitution passes, elections must take place within three months. In the meantime, legislative powers would remain with Mr Morsi.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:48:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fragile Egypt economy overshadows Mursi's vote win | Reuters

(Reuters) - Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi will have little time to savor victory in pushing through a new constitution as it may have cost the Islamist leader broader support for urgent austerity measures needed to fix the creaking economy.

By fast-tracking the constitution through to a referendum that the opposition said was divisive, he may have squandered any chance of building a consensus on tax rises and spending cuts that are essential to rein in a crushing budget deficit.

Where have we heard that song before?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:56:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nervermind the budget deficit, can he get down bread prices relative to incomes?

My depressing forecast is that the Arab spring governments will not be willing and able to adress the economic woes of the masses, undermining their popular supports and paving way for new dictatorships that adresses discontent with violence.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 03:36:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fire destroys market in Afghan capital - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English
A massive fire has swept through a market in the Afghan capital, Kabul, destroying hundreds of shops and forcing the city's nearby money exchange to evacuate.

Authorities confirmed Sunday's blaze had engulfed most of the downtown cloth market's 500 shops, but caused no casualties.

Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse, reporting from the site, said: "Inside hundreds and hundreds of shops have been burnt. The shopkeepers tell us that they have tens of thousands of dollars in the shops."

"Much of the merchandise has also been destroyed. It's going to be very difficult to estimate the damages here, but it's probably worth millions of dollars," she added

Kabul fire department officials told the AFP news agency that an electrical short circuit was the most likely cause of the fire, which was so severe that NATO and Afghan army fire squads were called in to help.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:49:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boehner Hobbled by Losses While He Keeps Job No One Wants - Bloomberg
He lost control of his U.S. House caucus. He lost a chance to limit the impact of tax increases to only the most wealthy. And he lost face.

So far, he hasn't lost his title as U.S. House speaker --in part because "no one wants that job," said Ron Bonjean, a former aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican. "Right now it's a hard job to have."

Boehner's admission yesterday that he pulled his own deficit-reduction proposal from consideration because he didn't have enough votes for it to pass is casting doubt on his leadership skills. To successfully manage an agreement now, Boehner, 63, will likely have to rely more on Democrats.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:19:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rumor has it Boner is a lazy alcoholic and everyone in DC knows it. Not the type that inspires leadership.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 04:16:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no idea if that's true, but it certainly explains a few oblique references on dKos

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 07:00:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say that is irrelevant, drunkard or sober no GOP speaker can rein in the Tea Partiers. The only way the can continue negotiating and influencing US politics is by clearly succeeding from the rebels.

Vencit omnia veritas.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 08:00:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The NRA hasn't actually said that yet, but I'm sure they will. USA Today:
A gunman opened fire on firefighters responding to a blaze at a house in a Rochester suburb early Monday, killing two firefighters and injuring two others.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 12:03:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Strangely, when that black kid was killed in Florida, the NRA didn't call for young black kids to be armed.

What part of insane doesn't amurka get yet?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Dec 25th, 2012 at 05:54:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From The Atlantic Magazine
THE PANTHERS' METHODS provoked an immediate backlash. The day of their statehouse protest, lawmakers said the incident would speed enactment of Mulford's gun-control proposal. Mulford himself pledged to make his bill even tougher, and he added a provision barring anyone but law enforcement from bringing a loaded firearm into the state capitol.

Republicans in California eagerly supported increased gun control. Governor Reagan told reporters that afternoon that he saw "no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons." He called guns a "ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will." In a later press conference, Reagan said he didn't "know of any sportsman who leaves his home with a gun to go out into the field to hunt or for target shooting who carries that gun loaded." The Mulford Act, he said, "would work no hardship on the honest citizen."

The fear inspired by black people with guns also led the United States Congress to consider new gun restrictions, after the summer of 1967 brought what the historian Harvard Sitkoff called the "most intense and destructive wave of racial violence the nation had ever witnessed." Devastating riots engulfed Detroit and Newark. Police and National Guardsmen who tried to help restore order were greeted with sniper fire.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Dec 25th, 2012 at 01:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice history lesson.

Also ties in nicely with Mark Ames recent look at NRA's recent slide into gun-nuttery.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Dec 25th, 2012 at 02:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Daily Kos: Fascinating NYT Review of "Django Unchained" Teaches About Race, History & Movies -- Plus My Take
Scott dissects the film carefully, but he focuses on what makes it an important film about race in the following section:
In placing his story of righteous payback in the Old South rather than the Wild West, and in making its agent a black former slave, Mr. Tarantino exposes and defies an ancient taboo. With the brief and fascinating exception of the blaxploitation movies and a few other works of radical or renegade art, vengeance in the American imagination has been the virtually exclusive prerogative of white men. More than that, the sanctification and romanticization of revenge have been central to the ideology of white supremacy.

(snip) The idea that regenerative violence could be visited by black against white instead of the reverse -- that a man like Django could fill out the contours of the hunter -- has been almost literally unthinkable.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Dec 25th, 2012 at 02:54:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:37:14 PM EST
American Oil Growing Most Since First Well Signals Independence - Bloomberg
The U.S. expanded its oil production this year by the most since the first commercial well was drilled in 1859, upending a belief that Americans were increasingly hooked on foreign crude.

Domestic output grew by a record 766,000 barrels a day to the highest level in 15 years, government data show, putting the nation on pace to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer by 2020. Net petroleum imports have fallen by more than 38 percent since the 2005 peak and now account for 41 percent of demand, down from 60 percent seven years ago, moving the U.S. closer to energy independence than it has been in decades.

Seven years after President George W. Bush declared "America is addicted to oil, much of which is imported from unstable parts of the world," the country has so much crude that it was able to join Europe in choking off exports from Iran without pushing U.S. benchmark prices over $100 a barrel. And refining capacity helped make the U.S. the world's largest fuel supplier. Even in Venezuela, where Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)'s assets were seized, more and more cars run on gasoline made in America.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wind Power Generation Beating Natural Gas in U.S. in 2012 - Bloomberg

Wind-turbine installations are poised to exceed natural gas-fueled power plants in the U.S. for the first time this year as developers race to complete projects before a renewable energy tax credit expires.

New wind capacity reached 6,519 megawatts by Nov. 30, beating the 6,335 megawatts of gas additions and more than double those of coal, according to data from Ventyx Inc., which is owned by the Swiss power transmission equipment maker ABB Ltd. (ABBN) The company plans to release final tallies in January.

"Wind will very likely beat gas, but it may be close," said Amy Grace, who leads North American wind industry analysis for Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New York. "It's very likely that we get over 8 gigawatts for 2012."

Congress has yet to renew the production tax credit, which provides incentives for wind farms completed before Dec. 31. Efforts to take advantage of the subsidy trumped interest in gas-fired stations, which are supported by a plunge in prices for the commodity resulting from added production through hydraulic fracturing.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:15:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China Pledges Rural Reforms to Boost Incomes, Consumption - Bloomberg

China will give farmers better protection over the land they till, raise their incomes and improve public services for them to help close the gap with urban areas and narrow the rich-poor divide.

The government will ensure farmers earn "reasonable returns" from planting crops and increase agricultural subsidies, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Dec. 22, citing the government's annual policy-setting central rural work conference.

The goals, which include increasing rural incomes by at least as much as those in urban areas, reflect the new Chinese leadership's focus on reforming the land system, addressing wealth disparities and encouraging migration into towns and cities to boost consumption. Li Keqiang, set to take over from Wen Jiabao as premier in March, is championing urbanization as a new growth engine and said in comments published Dec. 20 that economic expansion must translate into higher incomes for ordinary people.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:18:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Green Revolution is wilting

The Green Revolution has stagnated for key food crops in many regions of the world, according to a study published in the Nature Communications by scientists with the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment and McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Led by IonE research fellow Deepak Ray, the study team developed geographically detailed maps of annual crop harvested areas and yields of maize (corn), rice, wheat and soybeans from 1961 to 2008.

It found that although virtually all regions showed a yield increase sometime during that period, in 24 to 39 percent of the harvested areas (depending on the crop) yield plateaued or outright declined in recent years.

(...) Interestingly, the researchers found that yields of wheat and rice - two crops that are largely used as food crops, and which supply roughly half of the world's dietary calories - are declining across a higher percentage of cropland than those of corn and soybean, which are used largely to produce meat or biofuels.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:28:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't help but wonder if the capitalized 'G' in Green is meant to imply organic food, wheras this actually represents the failure of the chemical-agricultural complex to boost production with gargantuan quantities of toxic waste

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 07:07:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Green Revolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s. It forms a part of the 'neo-colonial' system of agriculture wherein agriculture was viewed more of a commercial sector than a subsistence one.[1]

The initiatives, led by Norman Borlaug, the "Father of the Green Revolution" credited with saving over a billion people from starvation, involved the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques, distribution of hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers.


The term "Green Revolution" was first used in 1968 by former United States Agency for International Development (USAID) director William Gaud, who noted the spread of the new technologies and said,

"These and other developments in the field of agriculture contain the makings of a new revolution. It is not a violent Red Revolution like that of the Soviets, nor is it a White Revolution like that of the Shah of Iran. I call it the Green Revolution."[2]

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 07:31:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Siemens seeks to consolidate market lead with 4MW turbine | Windpower Offshore

Early in December, Siemens installed the first prototype of its 4MW SWT-4.0 offshore wind turbine at a Jutland test site for large wind turbines in Østerild, Denmark. The machine represents a second upgrade of the initial 3.6MW geared SWT-3.6-107 platform introduced in 2004 and the current 3.6MW SWT-3.6-120 with enlarged rotor of 2009. Around 500 units of these two offshore models have been installed so far, with Siemens reporting a 1200-turbine order backlog.

The prototype has initially been fitted with a 120-metre diameter rotor. In early 2013 it will be refitted with 63-metre B63 blades that are being developed in house to give the turbine a 130-metre rotor diameter. 

The nacelle and tower structures are essentially upgraded 3.6MW variants, and the B63 blades are manufactured using in-house IntegralBlade technology that eliminates shell bonding joints. Siemens retained the proven high-speed drivetrain concept but the SWT-4.0 incorporates a new higher rated gearbox and an optimised induction generator cooling system.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:32:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't like today's food monopolies? Blame Robert Bork | Grist
Most people, if they think of the recently departed and extremely conservative Judge Robert Bork at all, think of his failed nomination by President Ronald Reagan to the Supreme Court (and maybe his natty facial hair). But Robert Bork deserves credit for more than just inspiring the term "Borked." He actually deserves credit (or, more accurately, blame) for the domination of our food system by a handful of mammoth corporations. I'm talking about you, Monsanto, Cargill, Tyson, and Walmart.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:43:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He didn't do it on his own, he was enabled by an entire system of corporate whores and patsies egging him on

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 07:08:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:37:34 PM EST
India's gang-rape protesters defy moves to quell outrage | Reuters

(Reuters) - The Indian government moved on Sunday to stamp out protests that have swelled in New Delhi since the gang-rape of a young woman, banning gatherings of more than five people, but still thousands poured into the heart of the capital to vent their anger.

Police used tear gas and batons to hold crowds back from marching on the president's palace, just as they did the day before. About 30 to 35 people, including a few policemen, were being treated at a nearby hospital for injuries, two doctors said.

The 23-year-old victim of the December 16 attack, who was beaten, raped for almost an hour and thrown out of a moving bus in New Delhi, was still in a critical condition on respiratory support but responding to treatment, doctors said.

Six men have been arrested for the assault.

New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India's major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:40:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dawkins on religion - General - Al Jazeera English
Mehdi Hasan interviews evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins at the Oxford Union and asks: Is religion a force for good or evil? Can it co-exist with science? Is science the new religion? And why if god does not exist, is religion so persistent?

Video.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:44:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Analysis: Amazon, Google on collision course in 2013 | Reuters

(Reuters) - When Amazon.com Inc CEO Jeff Bezos got word of a project at Google Inc to scan and digitize product catalogs a decade ago, the seeds of a burgeoning rivalry were planted.

The news was a "wake-up" call to Bezos, an early investor in Google. He saw it as a warning that the Web search engine could encroach upon his online retail empire, according to a former Amazon executive.

"He realized that scanning catalogs was interesting for Google, but the real win for Google would be to get all the books scanned and digitized" and then sell electronic editions, the former executive said.

Thus began a rivalry that will escalate in 2013 as the two companies' areas of rivalry grow, spanning online advertising and retail to mobile gadgets and cloud computing.

It could upend the last remaining areas of cooperation between the two companies.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:47:05 PM EST
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Tracking the origins of HIV

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may have affected humans for much longer than is currently believed. Alfred Roca, an assistant professor in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, thinks that the genomes of an isolated West African human population provide important clues about how the disease has evolved.

HIV is thought to have originated from chimpanzees in central Africa that were infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a retrovirus. "If you look at the diversity present across SIV in chimpanzees, it suggests that they have had it for tens of thousands of years," Roca said.

HIV-1 Type M, which accounts for 90 percent of human infections, is believed to have crossed the species barrier into human populations between 1884 and 1924. Roca said that it may have crossed much earlier and many times, selecting for genetic resistance in isolated rural populations while remaining undetected.

"Some of the scientific literature suggests that the persistence of HIV in humans required population densities typical of the larger cities that appeared in West Central Africa during the colonial era," he said.

Perhaps an even more important factor is that, before modern medicine and vaccinations, infectious diseases such as smallpox killed large numbers of people. People with compromised immune systems may have succumbed first, preventing the immunodeficiency virus from spreading.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:25:32 PM EST
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Russia widens anti-U.S. retaliation

Russia widened its retaliation against the United States, banning adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens and warning of tit-for-tat measures against U.S. visitors over a spiraling human rights debate.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he informed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of Moscow's decision to bar Americans guilty of human rights violations.

Lavrov's statement was a response to new U.S. legislation that streamlines trade with Russia but authorizes sanctions against Russians found guilty of human rights violations.

Russians on a U.S. black list can be barred, denied U.S. visa and have assets frozen under the new law, called the Magnitsky Act to commemorate Russian lawyer and whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian prison three years ago, allegedly of torture.

Lavrov said Russia would do likewise.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 03:36:19 PM EST
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Cryptome: Julian Assange: A Call to Cryptographic Arms (Excerpted from Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet)
The world is not sliding, but galloping into a new transnational dystopia. This development has not been properly recognized outside of national security circles. It has been hidden by secrecy, complexity and scale. The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen. The internet is a threat to human civilization.

These transformations have come about silently, because those who know what is going on work in the global surveillance industry and have no incentives to speak out. Left to its own trajectory, within a few years, global civilization will be a postmodern surveillance dystopia, from which escape for all but the most skilled individuals will be impossible. In fact, we may already be there.

...

The new world of the internet, abstracted from the old world of brute atoms, longed for independence. But states and their friends moved to control our new world -- by controlling its physical underpinnings. The state, like an army around an oil well, or a customs agent extracting bribes at the border, would soon learn to leverage its control of physical space to gain control over our platonic realm. It would prevent the independence we had dreamed of, and then, squatting on fiber optic lines and around satellite ground stations, it would go on to mass intercept the information flow of our new world -- its very essence even as every human, economic, and political relationship embraced it. The state would leech into the veins and arteries of our new societies, gobbling up every relationship expressed or communicated, every web page read, every message sent and every thought googled, and then store this knowledge, billions of interceptions a day, undreamed of power, in vast top secret warehouses, forever. It would go on to mine and mine again this treasure, the collective private intellectual output of humanity, with ever more sophisticated search and pattern finding algorithms, enriching the treasure and maximizing the power imbalance between interceptors and the world of interceptees. And then the state would reflect what it had learned back into the physical world, to start wars, to target drones, to manipulate UN committees and trade deals, and to do favors for its vast connected network of industries, insiders and cronies.

...

Cryptography is the ultimate form of non-violent direct action. While nuclear weapons states can exert unlimited violence over even millions of individuals, strong cryptography means that a state, even by exercising unlimited violence, cannot violate the intent of individuals to keep secrets from them.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 02:51:09 AM EST
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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:37:59 PM EST
BBC News - Queen misses church service with a cold

The Queen has missed Sunday church service at her Sandringham estate as she is "getting over the tail end of a cold", Buckingham Palace said.

Her Majesty usually visits St Mary Magdalene Church every Sunday while staying at her home in Norfolk.

She is still expected to attend church on Christmas Day and her Christmas message was pre-recorded, so it will still go out on Tuesday.

Thought you'd like to know.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:59:53 PM EST
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"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 03:23:10 AM EST
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At first look: I thought he was holding ET and thus could be an alien himself. Then I realized die bremener was being sarcastic about creative creationism. But it is still a strange image.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 05:50:17 AM EST
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Cuddle one of those and hell have your arm off. And I bet Mama is nearby and feeling mean

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 07:12:14 AM EST
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Suffer the little saurians to come unto me.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 24th, 2012 at 07:39:12 AM EST
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